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Introduction: Newly Obtained Documents Reveal Names

Newly Obtained Documents Reveal 

Name of Woman Arrestee and Names of Three Men Arrestees:

Marilyn Fowler, Vincent DePaul, Wolfgang Podolski, and Thomas Staton

To honor the 40th anniversary celebration, in June 2009, of the Stonewall Riots, OutHistory.org for the first time published nine pages of New York City Police Department records created early on the morning of the rebellion’s start, June 28, 1969.

Reproduced in facsimile with transcriptions, these sometimes hard-to-read but historic documents provide an immediate sense of what the police called an "Unusual Occurrence" at the Stonewall -- the rebellion that has come to symbolize the start of the modern, militant LGBTQ movement for civil rights and liberation.

The NYPD records include new, important, and striking details.

*Officer Charles Broughton of the 1st Division arrested Raymond Castro, Marilyn Fowler and Vincent DePaul, charging that they “with each other did shove and kick the officer.”

This is the first time that Fowler and DePaul have been named and documented as rebellion participants. Fowler’s name is extremely significant, since no other woman’s arrest has so far been documented, and numbers of witnesses attributed the intensification of the riot to the arrest and resistance of an unnamed butch lesbian. (Castro is named as a participant in David Carter’s Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution.[1] Vincent de Paul, the name of a Catholic saint, was probably a pseudonym.

*Police officer Charles Holmes of the 6th Precinct was treated at nearby Saint Vincent’s Hospital after being bitten on the right wrist by a Stonewall rebel.

Biting has not earlier been documented as a Stonewall resistance tactic.2]

*Officer Andrew Scheu of the 6th Precinct charged that Wolfgang Podolski had resisted arrest and had struck the “arresting officer in the left eye with a rolled up newspaper causing officer to fall to ground sustaining a fractured left wrist.”

This is the first documented reference to Podolski, a waiter or writer (the report is unclear), as a rebellion participant. This is also the first reference to a rolled up newspaper as a resistance weapon.[3]

*Officer Gail Lynch, of the 5th Precinct, charged that Thomas Staton interfered with an officer making an arrest “by throwing assorted objects [and] while with others did become very loud and refused to comply.”

Staton has not earlier been named and documented as a rebellion participant, and Lynch has not earlier been named as one of the women police officers at the scene. The records published by OutHistory for the first time list the full names of several other officers involved in the riot.4]

*An unfortunate Volkswagen owner complained to officer Robert Hansen of the 6th Precinct that her car, parked near the rebellion scene, had been “stomped” on during the disturbance and sustained damage to the roof, hood, and rear.[5]

Seven pages of NYPD records reproduced on OutHistory.org were obtained in May 2009 by Jonathan Ned Katz, Director of the website, in consultation with historian David Carter, and two additional pages reproduced were obtained in 1988 by the late Michael Scherker, under the New York State Freedom of Information Law.[7]

For the first time, in the seven documents obtained by Katz, the names of those arrested are not blacked out, providing the public and historians with important new evidence about the rebellion's participants. None of the nine NYPD reports made available on OutHistory.org have earlier been published

Katz asks that anyone with knowledge of the persons arrested or charged, or any knowledge of the police officers named, contact him at: OutHistory@gmail.com  Any information about arrestees Marilyn Fowler, Wolfgang Podolski, Thomas Staton, and Vincent DePaul would be "greatly appreciated," says Katz, noting that Vincent de Paul, the name of a Catholic saint, was probably a pseudonym. Any information about Fowler is of “special interest,” says Katz.

The New York Police Department reports are listed here with transcriptions of the difficult-to-read originals.

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Notes

[1] See Report 3.

[2] See Report 8.

[3] See Report 2.

[4] See Report 6.

[5] See Report 5.

[6] See Report 1 and Report 4. Information about Van Ronk from the notes of David Carter.

[7] In 1988, Michael Scherker, with the aid of Joan P. Gibbs, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, sued under the New York State Freedom of Information Law, and the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, for copies of New York City Police Department records on the Stonewall raid, and for records of surveillance of gay and lesbian political groups. In November 1988, Scherker won his case and received numbers of redacted police records, two of which are reproduced here (Reports 8 and 9) from the Scherker file in the Cornell Universitiy Library. See Scherker v. Ward, New York State Supreme Court, Index No. 19024-1988, and City of New York, Police Department Legal Bureau, F.O.I.L. Unit to Jonathan Ned Katz, May 1, 2009.